First Cut Out Of Reactor Pond Wall At Dounreay
19th February 2017
The first block of concrete has been removed from the structure of one of Dounreay's cooling ponds - representing a major first step in demolishing the redundant giant chamber.
The pond is one of two concrete pits, six metres deep, which was used to store spent fuel from the Dounreay Fast Reactor (DFR). When in operation they resembled deep swimming pools, containing around 500m³ of water, providing shielding for workers from radiation emitted from spent fuel. They have now been drained of water and sludge, while redundant equipment has been removed.
There are around 180 blocks of concrete, individually weighing around one tonne, to be removed from each pond and packaged as waste.
Suzanne Griffiths, Project Manager, said: "Decommissioning of the ponds is technically challenging. While each block is only around 1m², it is extremely heavy and the process of cutting it is complex. The team has worked exceptionally well together and applied lateral thinking, deploying new techniques to allow the concrete liner to be removed in preparation for final demolition."
The work in DFR is one the biggest decommissioning tasks in the UK today. It is one of the highest hazards within the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority's estate and the safe removal of associated plants and facilities is crucial to getting Dounreay to its interim end state.
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An off the shelf CCTV camera is providing crystal clear images from the depths of Dounreay's Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR). Fifty years on from the construction of PFR, the reactor decommissioning team is viewing footage that will enable it to pull apart the innards of the second and last fast reactor to be built in the UK.
The last of the higher activity liquid waste produced during Dounreay Fast Reactor (DFR) fuel reprocessing has been made safe for future generations. It is an important milestone in the immobilisation of the historic liquid waste, known as raffinate, created from reprocessing undertaken during the operation of Dounreay's three reactors.
Ten new graduates started their careers at Dounreay this week as the company's graduate development programme entered its second year. Applications to the scheme soared after the success of last year's first ever graduate intake, with more than 200 applications received.
The destruction of one of the highest hazards remaining in the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) estate has been completed at Dounreay. Around 68 tonnes of highly radioactive liquid metal coolant was removed from the Dounreay Fast Reactor (DFR) and safely destroyed over a ten year period.
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